CONSERVATIVES have chosen garden designer Councillor Steve Criswell as their candidate to succeed Councillor John Eddy, who died last month aged 72, in the county council by-election for Somersham and Earith. The Liberal Dems are putting up ex-Huntingdonshire District Councillor Tony Hulme against him, on October 12. Cllr Eddy, who was a county councillor for 25 years and a district member for 30, was chairman of the county's development control committee at the time of his death and had been district council chairman for two years until May this year. Son of a Bluntisham priest, he was a farmer in Earith and a stalwart of the Bishop of Ely's council and of the diocesan synod. Mr Criswell used to run the family fruit farm at Somersham. He was a member of Somersham Parish Council for 16 years and was elected two years ago to Huntingdonshire District Council, where he is chairman of the overview and scrutiny panel for service delivery. Tony Hulme has lived in Somersham since 1979, when he and his family moved from Yorkshire. He spent 23 years in the Territorial Army, completing his engagement with the 36th Royal Signals Regiment in Cambridge. He was a Huntingdonshire District Councillor for Somersham Ward for nine years from 1995, and has been a Somersham Parish councillor for many years. He works as a college porter at Cambridge University. The Tories' candidate to succeed John Eddy at HDC is Bluntisham farmer for 35 years, Philip Godfrey, a former chairman of governors at St Helen's School in the village and twice chairman of Bluntisham Parish Council on which he has served for 23 years. He and his wife of 27 years, Jane, have two grown-up children, James, 23, and Emily, 20. Mr Godfrey sings tenor in St Ives Choral Society and lists restoring old buildings and wind-surfing among his hobbies. Against him for the Lib Dems will be Joy James, former president of the county's Women's Institutes and a previous member of HDC. Joy James first settled in the area in 1972, when she and her husband - then serving in the RAF - bought a house in Needingworth, so that their two sons would be able to complete their education at Ramsey Abbey School. She became the school cook at Bluntisham and moved to the village in 1976 after her husband's death. In 1983 she was elected to Bluntisham Parish Council, on which she still serves. She has twice served as chairman. In 1996 she was elected as HDC councillor for Bluntisham, Earith and Colne. North West Cambridgeshire Lib Dem chairman, John Souter, said: "Joy is a well-known and respected community activist. Her knowledge and breadth of experience would make her an ideal councillor.